Yes, I drive a textbook Jalop-mobile. And use it in every way I should and shouldn’t.

One of the great all-rounders - the first M3 sedan - doing what any self-respecting all-rounder does; going camping.
Photo: BLCKSTRM

And yes, I have spent uncountable hours doing any repair the car has ever needed myself.

And worse, I’m a GM-bankruptcy refugee, but still do automotive consulting with a boutique industry firm on a regular basis (I’m almost a part-time employee despite having a real day job in another industry now). So pretty far down the inside-baseball rabbit hole.

One of my weak spots is track time. Despite spending a ton of time at the track, I’ve only been on track at speed around 8-10 times. But I spend 10-20 weekends a year helping my kids work at the track.

(To pay for college. And probably a Spec race car).

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OK, one more. For the children.

And the people my kids have met have been amazing. The CEO of Winding Road. Several ROWW people. Lots of other successful local business people who are delighted to talk to my kids in between sessions.

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It’s just that I’m finding myself increasingly cynical / impatient with non-car people.

I can’t handle car articles written by / for non-car people. I just tried to watch this and couldn’t finish it.

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This guy’s experience was surely really cool for him, but it’s just too juvenile for me at this point. I think even my wife would roll her eyes at some of the stuff he says.

Nearly every new Tesla story is an exercise in self-restraint. The entire company’s - and particularly Musk’s - holier-than-thou, my-shit-don’t-stink attitude toward the OEMs they depend on to properly train the employees they poach is simply infuriating. Just thinking about Elon talking about manufacturing engineering as if it’s something HE invented gets me nearly apoplectic.

“Making lots of something consistently that’s going to last a long time is extremely hard. In fact, it is way harder to make the machine that makes the machine that it is to make the machine in the first place.”

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No shit, Elon. Welcome to the big leagues.

Except he’s still playing little-league. Mary Barra, Harald Krüger, Dieter Zetsche, Jim Hackett - none of them would have been so impolite as to treat someone the way Elon did on that earnings call earlier this week. Not to mention forgetful of the way their actions and flippant remarks could impact not just their own holdings, but the holdings of ALL the people who they’re supposed to represent.

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“Fastest Car” aggravated me to no end. Especially knowing how welcoming and inclusive real car people are at track days, seeing this show where they make everyone out to be jealous, insecure assholes fried me like nothing I’ve seen in a while.

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Given the choice between showing normal people what an incredible, tight community we are and falling back on stereotypes about money and women, the shows producers picked the latter.

My kids have met amazing people working at the track. They’ve been coached on selling, managing their business, wrenching, and driving. They’ve been offered college internships already. They’ve been given huge “donations” by multiple people who don’t want anything to eat, but want to help.

I have had weeks-long, sometimes heated debates here and on the FP about different things. But even in the heat of the moment the name-calling has been kept to a minimum, and we’ve either eventually learned or just agreed to disagree.

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But a difference of opinion does not make an enemy, or make someone an asshole. We’re all different people - of course we have different opinions. But we can - and for the most part, we Jalops, we Opponauts do respect one another.

Throughout my career in the industry, meeting someone who is completely ignorant, talks out of their ass, or is an asshole has been the exception rather than the rule.

People are knowledgable, kind, genuine, friendly, and helpful. Even competitors. Even busy executives. Even “stuck up” race car drivers.

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Bill Auberlen being totally cool after I cooked the last corner and munched a bunch of cones trying to win a PS4 at CES this year...
Photo: BLCKSTRM

The people who aren’t all those great things? And too stuck on how great they already are to want to be any of those things?

Much more often than not, they’re outsiders.

So, do I hate everybody?

No. I’m far from knowing it all. In fact, I may be at peak “knowing what I don’t know.” But I’m happy to learn, to be corrected even - if someone actually has knowledge to share and not just an ignorant opinion.

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But I am raising my standards for what I consider worth reading, worth responding to, and worth talking about.

And if that makes me a terrible person, I think I can live with being terrible.